I'm joining Service Space because ... I'd love to be part of a community that amplifies goodness.
A good day to me is when ... I have worked with my hands and heart.
My hero in life is ...Everyone who reaches out
My favorite book is ...One Straw Revolution by Fukuoka
One thing I'm grateful for is ... The privilege to be able to think beyond survival.
Jan 21, 2020, 3 comments, 7 smiles [ Below is the New Year wish we received from T S Ananthu, one of the founders of the eco community Navadarshanam near Bangalore, India.] We all get and send messages celebrating the arrival of a new year. The irony is that while occasions such as new year and birthdays are seen as a cause for celebration, the process of ageing isn't. Becoming older is seen as a cause for regret. In ancient times, age was seen as an indicator of maturity, even wisdom. But now, it is viewed with alarm by those getting older, and with disdain by those still young. Our culture is very much tilted in favour of the young - they are the ones targeted in advertisements that show youthful energy, they are the ones who are offered starting salaries that often exceed amounts paid to those with a life long of experience at the work place. But ... Read Full Story
Dec 22, 2019, 5 comments, 22 smiles When we came to know that Nipun would be in Chennai for a couple of events on Dec 18th, we held an intention to host an Awakin circle that would be open for all those who wished to connect. A few weeks back, Sangeeta Isvaran came to Sughad for her first Service Space retreat and wholeheartedly opened up her beautiful home by the beach in Chennai for an Awakin circle. On the 18th evening, the doors were held open. We had people like Shruti and Sheetal visiting from out of town adding their beautiful voices to the ambiance. Some friends who attended and organized Nipun's afternoon talks in Chennai came over for the evening to continue their deepening. Sangeeta's Dad graciously greeted us and made us feel at home. And we had a bunch of kids who played quietly for 45 minutes upstairs so the mothers can sit in silence. The ... Read Full Story
Nov 22, 2019, 4 comments, 13 smiles At age 102, Smt.Padma Swaminathan, fondly called Padma Paatti (grandma) was the eldest volunteer at aKarma Life, an organization I volunteer for. I feel extremely blessed to have shared time and space with her. This is an attempt to recount her inspiring life based on conversations with her and a couple of articles in newsletters from her senior citizens home and Ramana Ashram. Padma was born on December 1, 1917 at Tiruchi, a small town in South India, to Sri. F.G.Natesa Iyer and Smt.Rajarajeswari. Her father, a freedom fighter, was also fond of arts and established a space in Trichy (that still stands today) to promote meaningful entertainment. He himself was quite talented and earned the title "Father of Modern Tamil Drama". He discovered many everyday people with talent and shone the spotlight on them. M.S.Subbulakshmi, the nightingale of Indian classical music, had a concert hosted by him when she was just ... Read Full Story
Feb 28, 2019, 6 smiles Last December, Suchitra Shenoy was invited to share at the India Inclusion Summit. The summit is a yearly gathering of people with disabilities, their families, social entrepreneurs and educational institutions. Here's her talk at the summit titled Everyone Has Something to Give
Feb 07, 2019, 16 smiles Our good friends Gopal and Drishti who enthusiastically and tirelessly work with young people with disabilities, were visiting. And we got into a sort of unplanned circle with a small group of neighbors for shared learning on the subject of disability. Having a friend with a disability changes how you view the world. For instance, a friend told me how when she befriended someone with a hearing and speech disability, so much changed. When he visited her house, he looked at everything intently because that was his main modality of understanding more about her. Only then did she, (and I), realize how much we depend on sound to understand or get to know a new friend or even our surroundings. Similarly, having Gopal and Drishti as bridges to these seemingly other worlds, could help deepen our understanding. We started with a circle of sharing about one person with disability that we have known ... Read Full Story
Nov 03, 2018, 6 comments, 23 smiles Earlier this month, during Nipun's whirlwind tour de India, one of the stops was Hyderabad and I was fortunate to join the group of friends on a trip to Anahad, an eco-community that aspires to live by the principles of love, trust and sustainability. The community is a brainchild of two brothers Abid and Shabbar, and their families. It wasn't long ago that they shared their dream at a Startup Service event and here it was, a reality. A reality where 3 families live in their eco-friendly homes as stewards of the land around, assisted ably by people who have been mentored by Shabbar in these values. His wife Fatema reinvented herself as an architect among other things and had designed the homes, a community center and very comfortable labor quarters. Their energy has attracted their cousin Mustafa and his young family to move on the farm as well. And in their welcoming ... Read Full Story
Jul 14, 2018, 2 comments, 31 smiles When I was 2 years old, my parents stretched their finances and loans to build a moderate house in the outskirts of a small town. And when I was 9, they planned to have the house re-painted with their scanty savings. Every day, a few men would climb on a ladder and do some work with strong smelling paints of different colors. One day, as I returned home from school, those men had disappeared. I was so surprised to find this fresh, sky blue canvas in our living room ... on all four sides! So I did the most natural thing that came to me -- took the two sketch pens we had and started drawing (what most others would call scribbling) over the walls. As a habit, every day, at 5 p.m, I would stop playing, climb onto a platform in our backyard and start looking over our fence for my father's red ... Read Full Story
Apr 06, 2018, 1 comments, 12 smiles A group of volunteers in Coimbatore and other places have been sharing forward the gifts we have received through Nature Cure Camps that focus on Promotion of Health instead of Focus on Disease. These camps are also a a way for us to deepen our practice in Giftivism and broadening the ecology. The experiment is 8 years old and ongoing and hence, thousands of people have attended these camps. In the previous years, volunteers have spent a lot of time talking about how everything in the camp is offered in the spirit of gift and yet, so many would ask at the end of it all - why don't you just tell me how much I need to pay for this and how much for that? This year, that spirit, seems to have come full circle. One of my volunteering assignments for this camp was to call people beforehand to get to ... Read Full Story
Mar 02, 2018, 10 comments, 24 smiles [All through the Gandhi 3.0 retreat, Lijo Chacko was serving us invisibly. How many of you would believe, if you met him on the road and he told you that he climbed Mount Everest, that too, on the north face? One out of 10 people who climb Mt Everest choose to attempt the North face. And he did it without much preparation, just like that. He's a humble spirit, but he also has an adventurous spirit. He's been a commander in the Indian Navy serving in submarines. Talk about transition and transformation. Below is a transcript of Lijo sharing that story in his own words.] In my late teens I got selected into the Indian Navy. I joined the Naval Academy, then moved onto the Naval College of Engineering to do my graduation, got commissioned and then specialized in Marine Engineering a few years later. In the Indian Navy, there ... Read Full Story
Feb 13, 2018, 2 comments, 29 smiles [Towards the middle of our Gandhi 3.0 retreat, we had a stirring Community Night at the Gandhi Ashram -- where Gary Zukav lucidly spoke to the crowd of 250 friends from around India. Through his books, Gary's message has reached millions and transformed the lives of many -- including mine. His books, Dancing Wu Li Masters and Seat of the Soul, were formative influences in my college years. Yet after having spent last couple days with him, I would introduce him as just a loving grandfather. Below is a lightly edited transcript of Gary's luminous remarks from the evening, on the Universal Human. He later remarked, "For the first time, I spoke of the Universal Human, which I have been writing a book about for thirty years. Gandhi's ashram seemed the perfect place to introduce the Universal Human because I think of Gandhi as a Universal Human when few existed."] I ... Read Full Story